Giant Slayer

From the pages of the journal of the great warrior, Ud Nibbleaxe
This is so exciting!

Numbskull doesn’t much care for the cold here, but what do ponies know of adventure? I’ve bid farewell to my friends at the Brimwill Monastery, and I’m never looking back. All my life I’ve yearned for the thrill of fighting monsters and saving whole kingdoms from great evil, so I’ve joined a caravan for Trunau, now that I’ve learned all I can from the masters at Brimwill.

It was only a few hours after joining the caravan that I encountered Elynnar, my first true comrade on this journey. I think he was scraping mud from the back of someone’s wagon and into a small vial when I first encountered him, but, despite his various eccentricities, I can sense that there is a great nobility in him. And, though he masks it well beneath a veil of distracted-ness, I can tell that he truly regrets inadvertently leveling a city block with his experiments back home. I only hope his thirst for knowledge will not be his undoing—his and that of anyone in close proximity.

Still, Elynnar continues to intrigue me, and we spent much time together on our journey to Trunau. I’ve learned much about studying the world around me and making sure that I have a thorough knowledge of my environment.

It was only the day before last when we arrived at the city’s gates, tired from the long journey, and thoroughly chilled from the steady snowfall. I did make an effort to lend Elynnar my spare cloak, but he seemed quite content to wrap himself in a blanket. For an elf, he possesses a great spirit of perseverance and pride. It was at the gate that we encountered Durmok, a city guard and a warrior of great bearing and stature. He was kind enough to direct Elynnar and myself to the nearby tavern, where we warmed ourselves with food and fire, taking in the atmosphere. Even at this early stage in our journey, I knew that I had been correct to bring my fists and blades here. There is a pervasive sense of unrest in this area, and I know that it cannot be long before I confront a true beast in combat. Vile orcs and giants surround the city, inspiring the custom of hope knives, a personal weapon seeming to specialize in the taking of one’s one life. I find the thought…troubling.

Shortly after Elynnar and I arrived at the busy tavern, I chanced to look up as a small gnome woman arrived, conversing briefly with the barkeep. At her side was the guard Durmok, whose kind nature had brought him, once more, to assisting a weary traveler. I waved both Durmok and his companion over quickly, wishing to reach out to as many potential allies as possible. Though the gnome (Fijit, as I came to know her) was kind enough, she spoke little, preferring to whisper to the small owl on her shoulder.

It was also at the tavern that we encountered a local bard who regaled us with great song and story. He seems to have taken a rather…intense liking to us, but, though I find his lifestyle to be in all ways excessive, I cannot doubt his kind spirit. Torsten is his name, I dare not think I shall ever find a more jovial soul steeped in the mires of inebriation. He’s followed us around since, and I find myself strangely uplifted in response.

We travelers stayed at the tavern that night, while Durmok returned to his quarters, all of us reuniting the next day to set out for the latest Hope Knife ceremony. The affair was far less morbid than I had feared. There were even games involved, in which our entire party was chosen to take part in a fevered round of yank-a-rope. Joining us was another gnome woman, this one even less talkative than Fijit. Upon my initial attempts at dialogue were met only with hard stares. I was later informed by Durmok of the gnome’s recent hardships, and so I have redoubled my efforts at friendship. If there’s one thing someone in mourning appreciates, it’s constant friendly badgering from strangers.

Whatever her state of mind after her losses, however, it has not rendered the gnome woman physically inept for she and our other gnome companion were the champions of our team in yank-a-rope, seeing us to victory in seconds. If I have ever doubted the physical prowess of the smaller races, I never shall again!

After the ceremony itself had concluded, our party took part in the festivities—Torsten perhaps a bit too much—and Elynnar was busied with collecting many samples. Upon my eightieth circling of the maypole, I found myself wondering what he intends to do with them.

Oh! And perhaps most exciting, I was the victor in a gruel-eating contest! My bowl of victory will forever be at my side!

I think I also spotted the gnomes off conversing in hand-speak with Silvermane, a local elder and powerful druid. It was probably nothing, though.

That night, back at the tavern, upon helping Torsten keep from evacuating his stomach onto the bar room floor, Elynnar, Durmok, and myself chanced to encounter Rodrick, a warrior, and son of a warrior beloved by all in Trunau, conversing with a mysterious, large woman. It was curious, but pleasantries were exchanged between Rodrick and ourselves, and I thought no more of it. What business is it of ours whom the local heartthrob wishes to impregnate, after all?

Comes this morning, however, never had I wished more strongly that I had inherited my mother’s busybody spirit.

A terrible scream rang out across the tavern as I sat, enjoying my breakfast of soggy biscuits, and myself and my elven companion were upstairs in seconds to find Cham, the head tavern wench screaming in horror at the sight of Rodrick’s pale body in his bed, wrists laterally slit and stained with blood. Elynnar and I were quick to investigate the scene, with the city guard arriving soon after. A full investigation was launched, and there was a brief moment of misunderstanding as a rather loud relative of Rodrick’s was quick to order the arrest of Elynnar and myself. However, Durmok, our new friend in the guard bravely refused the order, instead escorting us outside as the investigation continued.

Here we were gathered with Fijit, the angry gnome lady (who, I’ve learned from Fijit, apparently sleeps without the encumbrance of sleeping attire), and a bleary-eyed Torsten. After a frustratingly long period of time, Rodrick’s body was sent elsewhere, and I was in for the greatest shock so far. Rodrick’s brother requested that our band investigate the cause of Rodrick’s death! We all, of course, took up the challenge, returning to the tavern in order to get a better look at the scene of the crime and to question Cham.

Though this is not the kind of adventure I had hoped for upon arrival, I cannot ignore such a desperate cry for help. So it is that I find myself deferring my dreams of heated battle with monsters for another kind of justice, but I will attack it with no less vigor. Orcs and giants will still await beyond Trunau’s walls when all this is done, and I will not rest until the truth of Rodrick’s death has been revealed.

Hope and Sorrow
A celebration and a death
It was too early in the morning for this kind of commotion! What was that infernal racket going on down the hall about! And who was crying? He tried to block out the noise and the evil light that crept through the windows, by placing a pillow over his head. One of his new roommates must have opened the shades this morning, before he left for his morning meal. A joke no doubt, meant to provoke him . Cruel knave, whichever roomie it was. Did they not know how he suffered?

The bed had stopped spinning sometime in the small hours, but he had still managed to soil his own linens and clothes several times, before the world had come to a stop. By the Gods the local stuff could be strong, if you drank enough! It was no good, the noise outside his door just kept getting louder. Heavy footfalls up and down the stairs and that dammed incessant wailing! " Shut-up out there, can’t a man sleep after a festive night?!" Torsten Stein yelled at the inside of his door.

And what revelry yesterday had been! The locals called it a hope knife ceremony but, Torsten Stein just knew that it was another great excuse for entertainment, drinking, carousing, and even a little fighting! Yes these town folk knew who to throw a party! Little Ruby might have come of age but, Torsten Stein reveling was un-matched!

Bang, Bang, Bang! came the heavy handed raps on his door. It was nearly loud enough and certainly annoying enough, to cause poor Torsten Stein to wet himself. Who is it! Torsten Stein cried as he flung open the door dressed only in his small clothes. “I’m sorry master Stein,” replied a stern faced guardsmen. “You’ll need to dress and come downstairs immediately” the humorless helmet insisted. “If it’s about the bill, I told Cham I’d settle up with her…” The guardsmen raised his hand and cut Torsten Stein off. " No it’s not about that, there’s been a death and everyone is being interviewed." said the perturbed soldier.

Torsten Stein’s face reflected his genuine alarm. “what a death? Who died?” asked the hung over Northman. The guardsman was almost completely out of patience, as he managed to utter through clenched teeth, “Patrol captain Rodrick Grath was found dead in his room last night.”

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